Feyenoord stadium project gets back on track

Eredivisie club Feyenoord has been given the green light to continue with efforts to develop the largest football stadium in the Netherlands after the project had stalled in recent months.

The management boards of Feyenoord Rotterdam NV and Stadium Feijenoord have entered the next phase of the preparations for the construction of the new 63,000-seat stadium. In it, the final design for the new stadium and its financing will be completed. The New Stadium BV entity has opened up the second tranche of bridge financing for this purpose.

It was reported in November that local authorities were concerned over major delays for the project, which is at the centre of a wider €1.5bn (£1.35bn/$1.71bn) regeneration of the southern part of the city.

The city council gave its approval to the project in May 2017, with ‘Feyenoord City’ to include other amenities such as apartments, commercial space and additional sports facilities. The development will be located in the Rotterdam-Zuid area of the city on the River Maas, and the council in November called on the respective stakeholders to “work together optimally”.

The stadium has been earmarked for completion for the summer of 2023, with the city contributing €135m to its €365m price tag. Feyenoord was due to approve a business case for the stadium by the end of the summer, but a sticking point appeared to be a so-called performance fee for the club to compete at the venue.

In the original plan of May last year, Feyenoord’s team budget was set to receive €17.5m per year guaranteed and €7.5m on a variable basis. However, the club was seeking the €25m in full, claiming that it needs the revenue to continue to keep pace with Eredivisie rivals Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.

That issue now appears to have been solved. In a statement on the Feyenoord City website, the stakeholders said that by acquiring at least €30m extra equity for the new project, a fixed and annually indexable contribution of at least €25m per year to Feyenoord’s players’ budget is made possible.

The statement added: “Feyenoord and Stadion are now focusing all their attention on the further careful preparations of the new building, the selection of a construction partner and the further completion of the financing. The aim is that further elaborations lead to an even better result for Feyenoord.”

Earlier, stadium architects OMA said they had finalised the schematic design for the facility. The stadium design intends to represent the DNA of Feyenoord’s current stadium De Kuip, with a perfect bowl shape formed by continuous curved tiers in close proximity to the pitch.

The main concourse around the multi-functional stadium, designed with Lola Landscape, will offer a unique public space with views both into the stadium and over the river and Rotterdam’s skyline.

David Gianotten, managing partner–architect at OMA, said: “The new Feyenoord Stadium will be as iconic and intense for the supporters and players of Feyenoord, and for the Dutch national team, as the historic Stadium de Kuip has been – but now fulfilling all top level UEFA regulations, and setting a new benchmark in contemporary stadium design.”

The next milestones for the project are the selection and contracting of the builder and the completion of the financing. This is projected to happen by the end of 2019, when the official green light for the project is expected to be given allowing construction to commence in the summer of 2020.

Commenting on the latest news, Alderman Adriaan Visser, who is responsible for major projects, told the AD.nl website: “A contractor must be found and the financing must be paid. I have no doubts about the financing. Finding a contractor who can do it within budget and time will be a lot more complicated.”

Image: OMA